Simple Spreadsheet + Typeform for Getting Ordering Under Control in 3 Easy Steps
With this quick video, you’ll learn how to use Google Spreadsheets and Typeform to get your dental budget and ordering under control:
Step 1: Gather all vendors in one place.
Start with gathering all vendors in one place. This is probably the most daunting and the most important step. You need to know everyone you are buying from and have the information at your fingertips. We recommend using this template (download here, or make a copy and add to your google drive). When you add all the information, please check for accuracy, most importantly usernames and passwords, make sure it’s accurate. I also recommend using Keeper for password protection. A lot of offices write down passwords into the spreadsheet and share with their team. Then if you need to let the person go, you are probably not going to reset all passwords which is an opportunity for someone to use your credentials for something not good. Save yourself time and headaches and get a password manager.
Using the template you can add all the vendors and skip username/password if you decide to use the Keeper for password management. You will notice the first tab is “Vendors” and we reckoned using the columns to fill out all that you can:
1.“Account Numbers” – most vendors will have your Customer Number, if not a big deal, as long as you have a username to log in.
2. Shipping Terms – you can find this information in your invoice or call your sales rep.
a) Min order amount for free shipping;
b) Shipping cost, Fuel Cost, Handling Cost. With some vendors shipping is free, but then there is a fuel charge of $15.99. Please ask and add it all into a spreadsheet.
3. How to Order – online is the best way to order supplies, add to card and be done. However, some vendors do not have a robust or easy-to-use site, so quite often you will need to call the right person. And finding the right person is key. With Top 4 suppliers, it’s easy, you have a sales rep that would love to talk to you. But when it comes to specialty products, ortho, implants, bone graft or membrane, or my favorite, sutures, you need a person to call that can answer even the most difficult question within minutes. So once you get a person like that, please add to the “How to Order section.”
Step 2: Enter orders with TypeForm
This is where TypeForm becomes very handy, simple to set up, and a tool that gives you access from any phone. You can even send the link to TypeForm to your sales rep to fill out the order information if they place orders on your behalf (even though I don’t recommend doing this). Go to their website, create a PERSONAL account, and click “Create Typeform”. Here are the steps and how to create a form:
1. Start from Scratch
2. Give it a Name “Ordering Form”
3. Fill out the questions:
a) Starting with 1st Question “Date Purchased” and the Type select “Date”
b) Next Question is to type “Vendor Name” and choose Dropdown. Then enter the list of vendors from your spreadsheet from the tab “Vendors”, just the names. You can literally copy-paste to Typeform to save yourself time.
c) Next Question – Order Total – Short Text
d) Next Question – Order Sales Tax – Short Text
e) Next Question – Order Shipping Charge- Short Text
f) Next Question – What did you Order – select Long Text
g) Next Question – Expected Delivery – Select Date in the “Type”
h) This is my favorite – Create a question “Type of Expense “, choose “Dropdown” in the type and copy-paste the following categories
i. Dental Supplies
ii. Lab Supplies ( Ex: Stone material, Aligners, Vacuform, Cerec)
iii. Office Supplies
vi. Parts & Equipment
i) Last Question – Who Ordered – also drop-down so it’s easy to track who placed the orders. If you plan to share this with your rep (or multiple reps) please include their name in the drop-down so they can identify themselves when placing orders on your behalf.
4. Publish the Typeform and Download the QR code. Also, send yourself a link to this form so you can access it from your phone.
6. Last step is to connect Typeform with your Ordering spreadsheet. Select the button Connect – all the way at the top and choose “Google Sheet” Option.
7. Follow the steps (most likely you will need to copy the link to your spreadsheet and paste it in the Typeform). Now you have connected Typeform to Google Sheets.
Why did we do it this way? I’m sure there are ways of getting information to Google where you do not need to use TypeForm, but I find it very easy to use and reliable. Now with a link or QR code, I can add any order into a main spreadsheet or have my team do it.
With the link or QR code, after you scan or click on the link, you can save a webpage to your homepage on the phone so it’s easy to find on an ongoing basis.
Step 3 Balancing the Budget
Now all of your transactions are in one place with proper labels. Dental supplies are properly tracked and are not mixed together with service/ parts or CEREC blocks. Now we need to add the totals for Supplies expenses into the Monthly Spreadsheet that calculates Monthly Budget and how much is left. I recommended using 3 Month Average for Collections and multiplying by 4% to get your real monthly budget.
Then add the date and amount for each vendor each time you place an order, total only. But make sure this total is what reflects on the credit card statement. There are times when you order 50 items and the supplier could ship all 50 items in 2-3 shipments, meaning 2-3 tracking numbers and separate invoices for each shipment. You need to then track it starting the PO Number, please refer to the example below, where one PO contains 3 invoices and 3 separate charges on the credit card.
Once you add it all up, the spreadsheet tells you how much is left for the month. We recommend that you always look at how much is left before placing any order. We’ve seen offices get below 5 or even 4% on supplies by simply cutting out of the order items that can be purchased next month and are not urgent at all.
This will take 40-60 min at the most and save you at least a couple of thousand dollars. If you need help with any of the above steps, please reach out and I’ll be happy to help.
We are exploring other ways to incorporate type form to optimize back-office operations and make things easier. For example, we are testing Spore test automation and the ability to track other Infection Control related issues in one place.